FIP – Cognitive Dissonance

This week in Psychology, we are discussing the theory of cognitive dissonance, which is when two opposing thoughts or facts are known to someone and to take away some of the discomfort of these conflicting things, the mind changes its behavior and attitude.  For example, one time in my Biology class last semester, I had decided to study extra hard for the upcoming exam that week.  I hadn’t been doing great on the tests so I thought finally studying and taking the time to look over my notes would definitely boost my grade on the next exam.  Finally, that Friday came and I felt more prepared than I had been int he past exams in this class.  As I took the test, I felt as though I was acing every question and knew every answer on it.  I felt confident that I had gotten a good grade on the exam.  The next week, our professors handed our tests back to us and to my surprise, I barely passed the test.  My grade was higher than my pervious ones, but not by much.  I knew that I had studied really hard before the exam and this was a shock to me.  As friends and classmates asked what I got on the exam I began to say things like “Yeah, I didn’t study that much though”, or “I didn’t have any time to study so…”, when, in fact, I had studied harder than I had before on any of my previous tests in Biology class.  By saying these things to friends and classmates, it eased the discomfort I felt, knowing I had studied hard for the exam and had still made a poor grade.  This use of cognitive dissonance was a way for me to cope with my poor grade, knowing I had studied hard.  I think in situations, such as mine, it is normal for humans to try and ease the discomfort or conflict inside of them.  I do think, however, sometimes it could get out of hand.  In politics, for example, it wouldn’t be good if the President sugar-coated serious issues and made excuses to minimize their importance and impact.  People in more influential and powerful roles, such as the President should do everything in their power to avoid this way of coping.  It can benefit us in minor, small risk situations; but used in the wrong situation or context could lead to catastrophic corruption and misunderstandings.

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3 thoughts on “FIP – Cognitive Dissonance

  1. I really enjoyed your blog! I definitely have also done something along similar lines of saying I didn’t study hard when I actually did to feel more comfortable with my grade. I really wanted to get a certain job over the summer, and when I didn’t get it, I found myself telling my friends and family that I didn’t really want the job that much in order to make myself feel better. I think cognitive dissonance can be helpful to feel more comfortable about a situation in your life, but I also think it is problematic to just come up with fake reasoning to justify your own behavior. For example, I have a friend who smokes cigarettes who has told me when confronted that cigarettes aren’t as bad for you as we think they are, even when we all know that science has proven the cigarettes are bad for your health. I really liked your blog, and I think you had a really great example of cognitive dissonance!

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  2. I enjoyed reading your first impression post and I do agree that cognitive dissonance can affect a person’s beliefs and behavior. For example, in Psychology Around Us, Chapter 14, page 527, “attitudes do sometimes predict behavior”(Gould/Comer, 527).I have experienced the same experience about studying and barely passing a test and then when I get my results sometimes its not the grade I expected to get especially since I did studied.I would then feel disappointed knowing I put a lot of effort but it wasn’t enough.When people ask me what I made in the test I would just make a lie to make myself feel better instead of being disappointed. This unpleasant behavior create some motivation to be used to reduce or eliminate the discomfort.Cognitive dissonance can also be used to benefit from it such as when parents give you money to do chores or homework because parent’s know this will probably influence a child to do their work by giving them a reason to do it. This can work or not work but it gives hope that it can influence kids to be more motivated to their work.I also agree with the use of cognitive dissonance depending on how it used it can hold two contradictory beliefs or hold a belief that contradicts a behavior of a person which can benefit or backfire the situation the person is in.

    Works Cited

    Gould, Elizabeth. “Chapter 14 / Cognitive Dissonance Theory.” Psychology Around Us. By
    Ronald Comer. 2nd ed. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 526-27. Print

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